|To:||Lyme Regis (SY339922)|
|Via:||Martock, Crewkerne & Raymond's Hill|
|Length:||30.5 miles (49.1 km)|
|Meets:||B3153, A372, A303, A356, A30, B3162, B3164, A35, A3052|
|Former Number(s):||B3153, A3070|
|Old route now:||A356|
|Route outline (key)|
The B3165 heads generally north-south through the eastern side of Somerset from the old county town of Somerton before terminating on the south coast in Lyme Regis at the extreme western end of Dorset.
Somerton - Martock
The B3165 starts on the B3153 in Somerton and heads south to the Market Square, before turning west along West Street - the town's main shopping street - and on out of town. Part of this was originally the B3153 before that road was diverted along Behind Berry. After crossing the railway line, a series of sharp bends zigzag us past Somerton Radio Station, and down to the A372 near Long Sutton.
After a short multiplex west along the A372 we turn left back onto the B3165 to pass through the beautiful little village of Long Sutton, with church and cottages laid out round a small green. Beyond the village, the road drops onto Sedgemoor, crossing the River Yeo at the ancient Load Bridge, which is narrow enough to require traffic signals, and then climbing slightly onto the low ridge of Long Load village. This is another pretty place, strung out along the roadside, but at length we emerge into the open country that surrounds Sedgemoor, albeit often passing between high hedges.
After about a mile of wiggles, the road enters the small town of Martock. This is marked by a crossroads, where turning left on the unclassified route brings you quickly to the A303, and is used by traffic heading east to avoid Martock itself. Martock itself is again strung out along the road, which twists and turns between the old houses, none coming older than the historic Treasurer's House (now owned by the National Trust) near the church. Beyond this a pair of sharp bends bring us into Bower Hinton and about a mile later to the A303. This is met at an elongated junction, with the A356 continuing southwards from further west in the junction.
Crewkerne - Lyme Regis
The A356 from Bower Hinton follows the route of what was originally the B3165, and so after a multiplex of over 5 miles our route reappears at Crewkerne. We re-start on Market Street, and while the A356 just a few yards to the north has the luxury of a full two-way link, traffic arriving in Crewkerne on the B3165 has to go all the way around the one-way system to reach the shops that are so tantalizingly close. But never mind - as we head south the town is soon behind us. After a couple of miles the village of Clapton is reached, and then we cross the River Axe and then move into Dorset shortly afterwards.
The B3162 is crossed at a crossroads at Horn Ash and then we are winding our way through the undulating scenery of West Dorset, downhill across a small burbling river or stream and back up past some farmhouses, round a bend and down again. It is a lovely drive that never passes through anything substantial enough to be called a village. Just beyond Marshwood lies the lumpy knoll of Lambert's Castle, and as we wind along the northern flank the road becomes the county boundary between Devon and Dorset. At the same time it becomes straighter, although still gently curving to the south until we reach Raymond's Hill at Monkton Wyld Cross.
At Monkton Wyld Cross the B3165 has a spur. Originally the B3166 met us here; however, in 1935 many of these short B-roads were renumbered as spurs of the major route they connected to. This was not one of them; the B3166 ran along the now-unclassified Green Lane whereas the B3165 spur runs further east, along Scott's Lane. Both arms soon meet the A35, but it is the western one which is the mainline, crossing the A35 at a staggered crossroads. It is pretty much downhill all the way from here, dropping steadily through Uplyme into Lyme Regis itself, and re-entering Dorset as we do so. This beautiful scenic route finally terminates on the A3052 Broad Street within sight of the blue sea at the bottom of the hill!
As noted above, this route has changed numbers a fair bit over the years. The spur at Raymond's Hill was originally unclassified, and the section from the A35 down into Lyme was for a while the A3070, but reverted to its original number in the 1970s. Finally, the middle section of the B3165 is now 'missing', as it has been absorbed by a re-routed A356. This was done when the A303 was dualled through this part of Somerset.
As for the road itself, well little seems to have changed since 1922. It is still a beautiful drive through some pretty villages and rolling hills that are so characteristic of the area.